Isle au Haut’s future depends the resolve of the people who call it home.
The Maine coast is dotted with rugged islands that hide away some of the truest Mainers. I have only visited a small number of these islands, but hope to explore more over the coming years.
I was drawn in and impressed by this article. It couldn’t have been more spot on about life on an island in Maine, in the middle of winter. The declining numbers of young people in the State is an issue that I’m passionate about and hope to write about some day. This article shows that the lack of young people is pervasive no matter where in the State you are.
Birthdays are a good time to reflect.
Last year I incorporated gratitude into my life, and it has had noticeable benefits. Life feels a lot fuller when you actively recognize the small, positive things in your life.
I’ve continued to eat healthier and this year I made a big change with the products I use. I make my own shampoo now (I’ve been a little embarrassed to admit it, but I will post about it soon). I use aloe, vitamin E and coconut oil, and calendula for my skin, instead of commercial lotion with ingredients I can’t pronounce.
I ran another marathon. A hard marathon. In a decent time. And I feel pretty proud of that. I’m excited about the races I’m planning for and I’m thinking about doing something I’ve never done before. I’m considering running 30 miles on my 30th birthday. This year I’m going to focus on trail running and getting fast for shorter races (but if I’m being honest, it is only so that I can be faster in longer races). I’m considering getting a paddleboard since I’m only a few blocks from the ocean and a calm bay. I want to continue to work towards being the best athlete I can be.
I’m writing a little bit more. I want to write a lot more, but hey, stepping in the right direction.
I left a job I felt like a misfit in, for a job I feel well suited for.
I got out of my car and back on my feet. This, paired with some of the changes above, paint a self-affirming picture. In the last year I made small changes that together create a life that is reflective of what is important to me. What an accomplishment. At least in some areas I am living the life I have wanted, and want, to live.
Being 29 feels like something is about to end; something is about to leave that will never come back. It will be replaced with other things that have never been received, which is exciting, but there is still sadness for what will be lost forever.
I wish that I could list all of the things I’d like to do in the next year to commemorate the ending of my third decade; an exciting list to check off throughout the year, but this year I don’t have any other objective than just to experience life and move toward things that attract me. I want to be myself, to be around people whose company I enjoy, meet new friends, and explore.
The night before my birthday, blowing out the candles, I made a wish that was in part for myself and in part for everyone around me.
Thanks to those who have supported my creative process on The Old Pine Tree over the past few years. I am appreciative of the forward momentum of this journey.
Pretty good day to be born (the sunshine and the morning doves agree).
365 days left in my twenties. Oh the possibilities.
There are lots of ways to romanticize winter. There are the majestic snowfalls that transform the world into something undisturbed and peaceful (which, I believe, a part of us always longs for). There are cold nights which give us an excuse to stay put in our most comfortable clothes, under our most comforting blankets, and feel no regrets for our sloth-like behavior. There is the blinding white of bright sunshine on untouched snow. There are indulgent, rich meals, and there is deeper sleep.
Come March the romantic side of winter starts to fade and the less pleasant aspects begin to scream in our face. I have successfully been keeping away dry winter skin, and doing my best to stay hydrated. I believe that the single best approach to keeping away the winter blues though is to take part in activities that you love, especially any that are outdoors. There is nothing that pulls me deeper into the winter blues than extended sluggishness. The remedy for me has been skiing and snowshoeing on the weekends, walking to work, and my gym membership.
I read last week that April and May are supposed to have below average temperatures and my heart sank a little. The promise of spring is a beautiful thing, but the promise of a cold spring is cruel. It could be three months (or more) before we see a 70 degree day. My spirit sinks.
What can I do, but to drag myself to the gym, where a good run will bring me back to myself a little. This afternoon I will go out for a ski, or a snowshoe, and bring my lungs some much needed fresh air. I will cut the tags off my new summer clothes, wash and fold them, and tuck them away in the bin of other warm-weather clothes, as proof that eventually, the warm will return (according the almanac, it will be too warm this summer…).
I encourage you to get outside, even if it’s just for a long walk. You will feel better and it is good to remember that there is still beauty in the world, even at the beginning of March in New England.
Socks that mummy made
Keeping away cold toes on winter nights.
The month that never got crossed off
One of my rituals is to cross off the day on a calendar before going to bed at night. This is something I have been doing for over ten years. I’ve always seen it as closure as well as a way to greet what’s next with anticipation. It symbolizes that time passes, and that in a good way, so much is temporary. It gives us a sense that what we eagerly await grows closer, while things we dread will soon be gone by.
But this month, February, I took a break from the markers. The lines always seem to muck up the view of a pretty picture. I wanted to see if anything would be different, if the month would go by faster (in days or weeks rather than one slow day at a time).
What I found is that starring at a calendar in mid-February without any days checked off is depressing. Getting through February is something to celebrate, but mid-month it looked like it was still February 1. I don’t have this easy feeling that there are only two days left in the month, just a sinking feeling that it’s still February.
Come March 2nd there will be one smooth line on my calendar, because March can be the friend you never expected to stab you in the back.
(No offense to February).
I’m trying a second ferment in kombucha for the first time. The two big jars have ginger in them, and the little one has peaches. In two days I will strain them again and enjoy.
I also have been successful splitting the babies from the mother (although it does make me a little nauseous).
The wind is whipping the flags I can see from my window. I cannot predict whether it will be rain or snow each time I check because it changes in five minute intervals.
The air has been warmer and it makes me antsy. This time of year the tease of spring is deceitful and unfair. I do my best not to appreciate it. If it isn’t white out, it’s brown, from the top of the hill right down to the working waterfront.
I have picked out my next race, but I haven’t decided which course to run. I want to run the 25k (15.5 miles) trail race, but I’m a little nervous. I haven’t raced on trails since cross-country in college. Maybe I should start with the 10k? Long distance is what I enjoy though. Maybe I should just bite the bullet, register, and enjoy the challenge.
The race is in May. That means I have to starting thinking about training soon, and jump in by the first of April. Can I do it? Sure. Could running long distance outside in Maine in April be potentially not enjoyable? Yes. Does that mean I shouldn’t do it? No.
So, what do you think? Which race should I run?
The best winter bath
The winters in New England get harsher the farther north you go. This year I feel like I’ve finally cracked the code to surviving winter and one important factor has been taking care of my skin.
Last fall I discovered Epsom salt, the first ingredient to a great winter bath. It soothes sore muscles (great post ski) and the magnesium helps keep headaches away (I get them regularly regardless of the time of year, but the dry air can contribute). Additionally it helps remove toxins from your body. This is great in the winter when we’re sluggish and less active.
The next ingredients are essential oils and a mild carrier oil. I made the mistake of not using a carrier oil in the bath once and it wasn’t great. I use about a tablespoon and a half of safflower oil (my mild oil of choice) to 6 or so drops of essential oil. I use any combination of orange oil, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender because that’s what I have on hand right now. Recently I’ve been using eucalyptus and lavender. Lavender to help me relax and eucalyptus to help clear any congestion and for its anti-viral and antibacterial properties (which I appreciate when everyone around me is sick). The carrier oil does a great job of moisturizing every inch of my skin.
The last ingredient (other then steaming hot water) is the dried calendula petals I grew last summer and dried in the fall. Calendula has a long list of health improving benefits, including being anti-viral, antitumoral (anticancer), speeding the healing of wounds, reducing inflammation, eliminating chapped lips, and so on.
When I get out if this bath I feel like I have just treated myself to a professional massage. Give it a try and enjoy an hour in la-la land.
Inevitably, the afternoon turned to snow. When I left my office at 6:30 it had really begun to come down. It was thick and the roads were not yet plowed and it was quiet. I am surely in a new place to know such quiet at 6:30 in the evening.
Sometimes I wish my walk home was longer. Just as I start to exhale my day, settle into my walk, and truly notice what is around me I’m on my street and approaching my door.
Everything was white tonight. The old historic houses. The church on the crest, its steeple lit up and faintly glowing. The bare, beautifully symmetrical trees. The road, the sidewalk, everything, white. The flakes were coming down so thick and I tried multiple times to catch things with my camera, things that might convey the peaceful feeling this left me with, but as is often the case, it could not be captured, and so I enjoyed it myself knowing that I did not have to share it; I could marvel at it selfishly. It was just me and that comforting, maternal quiet.